Australia 'pivots' to Asia

The "9/11 decade" is over and Australia's national security focus is switching firmly to the Asia-Pacific region, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has declared.

The past decade of security focus has been shaped by the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, including Australian troop deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq.

And she concided that the most crucial security threats to Australia "are the obvious ones, Islamist terrorism, and we live in an unstable world".

But Ms Gillard said with Osama bin Laden dead, al-Qaeda in retreat and work in the foreign wars concluding, Australia must "take full responsibility for its own security".

She said the principal national security focus would now be on the Asia-Pacific region, as the global economic and strategic centre-of-gravity continued to move east, bringing great opportunities but also challenges, said an AAP report of her speech carried Thursday by The Australian newspaper.

"It will be an era in which the behaviour of states, not non-state actors, will be the most important driver and shaper of Australia's national security thinking," she said.

The country also must focus on cyber security, with the threat of malicious hacker-type attacks always present.

But Asia, she said, is changing as economic growth produced shifts in the established strategic order.

"It is the relationship between China and the United States that more than any other will determine the temperature of regional affairs in coming decades," Ms Gillard said.

"We remain optimistic about the ability of China and the United States to manage change in the region but their relationship inevitably brings with it strategic competition as China's global interests expand."

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